To coincide with the feast of St Joseph the Worker (1 May), Pope Francis released a message to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences which included reflections on work and social participation.
Two themes emerged in his message.
Work is a human need and a source of meaning
“….work, even before being a right, is an irrepressible capacity and need of the person. It is the ability of the human being to transform reality so as to participate in God’s creation and preservation, and thus to edify himself.
“Just work.. corresponds to the person’s vocation and is therefore able to develop his or her skills……when work no longer expresses the person, because she no longer understands the meaning of what he or she is doing, work becomes slavery, the person can be replaced by a machine”.
Work should be organised to serve human development
“Precisely because work transforms the person, the process by which goods and services are produced acquires moral value. In other words, the workplace is not simply the place where certain elements are processed according to certain rules and procedures in products, it is also the place where the character and virtue of the worker are formed or transformed.”
“Labour is not merely a factor in production that, as such, has to adapt to the needs of the production process to increase its efficiency. On the contrary, it is the production process that must be organised in such a way as to enable the human growth of people and harmony between time for family and working life.”